Innovation is difficult and risky. In biotechnology, you can add long and expensive to the list of challenges. On the upside, with the right technology and strategy, biotechnology innovations have the power to improve and prolong the lives of millions of people who suffer from disease, while generating revenues and value for shareholders.
Here at Amarantus, we are innovators in the field of Programmed Cell Death, also known as Apoptosis. Our lead drug candidate (Mesencephalic-Astrocyte-derived Neurotrophic Factor) MANF is a first-in-class therapeutic protein that mitigates apoptosis by improving the protein-folding process inside the cell. MANF is currently in pre-clinical development for a range of indications. Our primary focus is on developing MANF as a new disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s disease. We also have programs in Traumatic Brain Injury and Cardiac Ischemia, and have initiated an effort to identify a suitable orphan drug indication to pursue MANF’s further development. Because MANF acts at such a fundamental cellular level, it is likely to have applications across a broad range of currently unaddressed disease indications.
Amarantus management has been following the evolution of the biopharmaceutical space and we’ve developed our business model around important themes that are reshaping the way innovative products get developed in this new economy. Below are what we believe to be the most important trends in the industry:
- Technology is not enough; you must build a business. We are focused on building a business, not a science project. To that end, we are evaluating complementary therapeutic assets in mid-stage clinical development to add to our pipeline to reduce time to market as we prepare for a national exchange up-listing. MANF is the centerpiece of our business, and we believe we can attract strong assets around it because of MANF’s vast potential. To this end, the Company has attracted a world-class team of advisors to give us the expertise to guide our business direction and diversify our pipeline.
- Intellectual property is what big companies are willing to pay for. Our patent portfolio around MANF is extensive and robust. We recently won a patent challenge to our key intellectual property in Europe where the courts asserted that our IP covered not only MANF, but also proteins that closely resemble MANF. We are in a very strong negotiating position with any company that wants access to MANF.
- Targeted medicines are what regulators are looking for. Amarantus in-licensed a clinical-stage Parkinson’s diagnostic program called NuroPro that will gives us a competitive advantage as we seek to prove that MANF has a ‘disease-modifying’ effect in Parkinson’s. This approach separates Amarantus from competitors because we are focusing on both therapeutics and diagnostics to help manage the disease.
- Today’s business model is about partnerships. We have developed a partnering business model that is based on the belief that we must maximize our internal strengths, while leveraging the strengths of partners to best achieve our objectives. In order to maximize potential returns, the Company is establishing its partnership criteria with our advisors as we look at near-term value inflexions to achieve further value-building milestones.
In closing, this is a very exciting time for Amarantus. We just completed our first institutional capital raise and have attracted Big Pharma talent to our Advisory Board. We have data coming shortly on our MANF Parkinson’s program and expect additional corporate milestones will be reached in the coming weeks. As we achieve these milestones, we believe we will be in a good position to up-list to a national exchange. Most importantly, we are looking to bring hope to millions of patients and their families who suffer from the debilitating diseases MANF has the potential to treat. We strongly believe this strategy will build long-term shareholder value.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter and looking forward to communicating with you in the future.
Gerald E. Commissiong
President & Chief Executive